This High Protein Chocolate Granola is packed with almond butter, almonds, chia seeds, and pumpkin seeds making it over 20 grams of protein per serving! It’s also naturally vegan, gluten free and refined sugar free. Serve with parfaits, puddings, smoothie bowls, or with fruit for breakfast or dessert!
I love eating granola as a healthy snack or with breakfast. It has the perfect crunch, is a great source of healthy fats and protein, and adds the best touch of sweetness.
The only problem is store-bought granola can be pretty expensive and is often loaded with refined sugars and excess oil.
Luckily making your own at home only takes 30 minutes and can last for months if stored in an airtight container. This means double or triple the batch and reap the rewards for weeks to come!
Why This Recipe Works
- Making homemade granola is both easy and healthier as you can control the amount of sugar and oil used!
- This version is also not only incredibly high in protein, but contains NO expensive protein powders – just good old nuts and seeds!
- Homemade granola is very customizable – use the nuts and seeds you have on hand or leave out the chocolate for a plain version.
- rolled oats – It’s important to use regular rolled oats (not instant oats or steel cut oats) and use gluten free oats if needed. If you use quick cooking, instant oats, your granola won’t retain it’s texture.
- pumpkin seeds – Also called pepitas, these seeds are nutritional powerhouses that add a subtle nutty flavor to the granola. Substitute with sesame seeds or sunflower seeds.
- almonds – Add great protein and heartiness to this granola. They also compliment the almond butter flavor so nicely! Substitute with chopped pecans, if desired.
- chia seeds – Adds protein and helps hold this granola together into perfect clusters! I do not recommend substituting with flaxseeds or hemp seeds.
- almond butter – My favorite nut butter to use when making homemade granola because it is much more neutral tasting than peanut butter. Feel free to substitute with peanut butter, cashew butter, or even Nutzo, just be sure whatever you use does not contain added sugars or preservatives.
- cacao butter – I use cacao butter in this recipe in place of oil as it adds a unique richness and undertone chocolate flavor. Cacao butter also melts very easily at a low temperature, which helps prevent burning the chocolate mixture. If needed, substitute coconut oil. If you have leftover cacao butter, try my White Chocolate Mocha!
- coffee – Optional, but adding a touch of coffee helps boost the chocolate flavor!
- cacao powder – Gives the essential chocolate flavor without adding unnecessary sugar.
Step by Step Instructions
- Move the oven rack to the lowest rung on the oven, then preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and line a half sheet pan with parchment paper. It’s important to do this before starting the granola as you want to spread it quickly once the granola is mixed with the chocolate mixture.
TIP: I do not recommend using a reusable silicone baking mat for making granola. In testing this recipe, granola baked on a silicone mat got significantly less crispy than granola baked on parchment paper.
If you do not have parchment paper or prefer not to use it, I recommend greasing the pan and baking granola directly on the sheet pan instead.
- In a large bowl, mix together the rolled oats, pumpkin seeds, raw almonds and chia seeds and set aside.
- In a small sauce pan, add the almond butter, maple syrup, cacao butter, coffee, cacao powder, coconut sugar and vanilla extract. Heat over low to medium heat and whisk until just combined.
- Once fully melted and whisked together, pour the chocolate mixture over the oat mixture. Using a spatula, mix to combine until oat mixture is completely coated in the chocolate.
- Quickly spread the granola onto the baking sheet in a thin, uniform layer.
- Bake the granola for 30 minutes, or until the outside pieces of the granola look crispy. When you remove it, the granola may not feel done in the center, but it will firm up considerably as it cools.
- Once removed from the oven, allow to cool COMPLETELY before breaking into clusters, ideally 1 hour or longer.
- Store in an airtight container for up to 3 months.
Frequently Asked Granola Making Questions
- Why did my granola not get crunchy? It could be a number of things, but the main culprits are usually either not spreading the granola thin enough on the baking sheet or pulling it out of the oven too soon.
- Why does my granola taste burnt? If the chocolate mixture is heated too quickly it can burn. It just needs to be heated enough to combine. The granola can also burn if it is not spread evenly on the baking sheet. If it is spread unevenly, the thinner areas will over cook and burn.
- Why isn’t my granola breaking into clusters? In order for granola to form clusters and clump together, it is important to use a sweetener and a binder. In this recipe, I used maple syrup and chia seeds to help the granola break into delicious, crunchy clusters.
- Should I store my granola in the fridge? This granola does best stored at room temperature in an air-tight container like a mason jar.
Tips for Success
- Do not increase the oven temperature in an attempt to speed up the bake time. Granola needs to be baked low and slow to prevent burning and confirm it cooks through evenly.
- When making substitutes, keep the wet and dry ratios the same. Granola recipes are very easy to customize, but it is very important to keep the ratios the same.
- Don’t touch the granola until completely cooled. As tempting as it is, don’t do it! The granola continues to firm up as it cools and interrupting this process can cause it to lose its crunchiness.
- If doubling the recipe, use multiple baking sheets! Granola is easy to make in large batches, but spread over multiple baking sheets to ensure the layer is thin and uniform. Thick layers will be difficult to cook through with out burning and will be difficult to make crunchy.
More Vegan Breakfast Ideas
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High Protein Chocolate Granola with Almond Butter
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees, Fahrenheit. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- In a medium sized bowl, mix all dry ingredients and set aside.
- In a small sauce pan over low to medium heat, add all "wet ingredients" and whisk frequently until completely melted together. Make sure your heat is not too high. You do not want this mixture to burn.
- Pour the melted wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix until fully combined.
- Press granola onto baking sheet in a thin, flat layer (see post for reference).
- Bake for 30 minutes on the bottom rack of the oven.
- Remove from oven and allow to cool COMPLETELY before breaking into clusters and smaller pieces. It won't feel completely hard when you first remove it but it continues to harden as it cools. It should have a nice crunch once cool!
- Storage: Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 months.
- You must wait until it is cooled completely before breaking apart!
- You can customize the nuts and seeds here as long as you keep the ratios the same.
Note about salt
Please pay attention to the type of salt called for in the recipe (if applicable). Not all salts are made equal and cannot be substituted 1 for 1. If you are substituting table salt for kosher salt, you will need to cut the amount called for in the recipe by at least half.
Disclaimer: The Nutritional Information provided for this recipe is only an estimate. The accuracy of the facts listed is not and cannot be guaranteed.
This recipe was originally published on May 11, 2020 and has been updated on September 23, 2021 to included new photos, step by step photos with instructions, and tips for success. The original recipe remains the same.